Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Anniversary Cruise, Part IV: Portland, ME, Boston, MA

Thursday, Oct 5, Portland, Maine (11:30.9pm) 

We were happy to be headed to Portland, Maine where customs would be coming aboard to verify each passenger entering the US again.

 Sitting in the breakfast dining area looking out at the foggy morning, a little Van Morrison was softly playing and a feeling of nostalgia.

 Following our verification and despite the overworked and tired limbs, we walked another 4 miles or so in the old historic city with undulating sidewalks and streets of aged pavers, . A few men were spotted about, covered with a blanket, lying next to the sidewalks and with signs asking for donations.

We finally had internet again and were happy we had dodged tropical storm Philip. Boston, here we come but not looking forward to the two days following at sea. 

Friday, Oct 6, BOSTON (7-5pm)

 We docked and in full view of the planes taking off and landing.

Freedom Trail and Walking Tour

We have been looking forward to this! So much history: the American Revolution and the people and places involved in all of that: Paul Revere, John Adams, Patrick Henry, … all that history in one place!

Here is a video worth watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-8xkTo7yGI

A total 6.3 miles today, and a part of that was the 2.5 mile red brick lined walking trail through Boston that was well worth that effort.

 Tonight, performance on world stage Evolution Motown. They were excellent. Here is a video I found on Youtube. Granted, the band was not there, only the 4 vocalists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2xCMWqyayQ


This is Franklin's parents burial site


Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense here

Boston Massacre 


the Market (some boxes "China")



this is our fall foliage?

Old Ironsides

and a cab ride back to the ship via the Ugandan gentleman driver

Whooped from all the walking but so happy we were able to experience all of this American history.

Anniversary Cruise, Part III: Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Tuesday, Oct 3, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada (8am.4pm)

 As we approached we could see large stockpiles of metallurgical coal, most likely for making coke and steel...

 and then what is said to be the world’s largest violin as we docked. Today was somewhat similar to yesterday as shopping was the highlight with purveyors inside a large building selling their knitwear, crafts, goods… that which was not of interest. We did our part by purchasing a bottle of water. I think you reach a certain age where the purchase of another’s craft is not needed in one’s home. Our memories are enough to remind us of wonderful days.

 We walked the little town of Sydney and again fell upon an old church taking collections and donations but no longer in much use_ St. George Anglican Church.

 So far nothing in the way of foliage, and local residence stated that the warmth had delayed the color change. I’m sure we will see the color soon. Another 4 miles walked and the appearance was as if we could have been in any small town in America.


Wednesday, Oct 4, Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada (8am.4pm)

Fascinating to experience the ship's capabilities, the side thrusters that allow the docking of the ship and without any aid of a tug boat. The ship is brought parallel to the dock and upon departure, again a push sideways away from the deck.

 Today, we were anchored and parallel to the industrial section. Halifax, announced as a world class Canadian city, shop, surf and pub crawling, all in one day, wow … and we rallied hard to decide what to do in this beautiful 64 F day, but the decision was made: return to the ship’s library and find another book, go back to our deck and read. Besides, our… well… my legs needed a rest.

We had internet and texts from our family indicating hurricane Phillip was heading our way, but when we checked Ventusky, fortunately it appeared we would be south of it.

 The entire time in Nova Scotia, the skies were bright and clear and the air so fresh. Tomorrow we would be back in the good ole United States of America. 

Much todo about… March of 2020, a federal ban on most cruise ships entering Canada effectively killed Halifax’s cruise season and undoubtedly took a great toll on the entire economy of Nova Scotia. Only since 2022, last year, the ships returned. We cannot imagine how these small town economies survive without the tourism. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Anniversary Cruise: Old Quebec City, a Sea Day and Charlottetown... Part II

After over 5 miles of walking about the beautiful old city of Quebec, my legs were saying that Castle walk may have been uphill both ways. It was time to gather our luggage and head out. We decided to forgo a taxi and walk to the ship, another 10-15 minute walk. Why not.

We were scheduled to board the ship at 3 pm but decided to go early and pleased that we did. Hardly anyone was there and it was a as simple as going through security and pulling our one suitcase along. Suitcases were scanned and we were pulled aside due to the bottles of wine. The young gentleman: you can only have one bottle. Me: No, the guidelines say we can have one per person. The young man smiled and then said we will keep the third one and return it at the end of the voyage.  

We checked into our room, 6th floor veranda on the Zuiderdam (Zi der dam), unpacked and went out to the deck. The rooms are small but adequate and with a veranda the light clearly makes for an extension of that space and that would afford us wonderful evening sunsets and a great place to read while enjoying the salt air while at sea.

Entertaining was watching the continuous loading of luggage and seeing folks in the condo across from us, seemingly having cocktails_ the lowest level, the second, and the roof top, sitting, standing and watching the cruise ship.  

I wish we had had more time in the city. Beautiful architecture and although a bit spendy, a lovely city.

   Video, aboard the ship 

Sunday October 1: Sea Day (Arrival 9 am. Departure 5 pm)

The St Lawrence is an amazing and expansive waterway. The breadth is nothing as we had imagined, and with the appearance of an ocean except for utter calmness. No whales or sea life to be seen. The ocean breeze, a slight hum of the ship and the peacefulness of the water gave way to utter relaxation.

St Lawrence reminded me of being in Minnesota and my first experience with Lake Superior_ a vast ocean of calmness that seemed surreal.

 Dinner time and the 9th floor features the Lido Market, a buffet style dining with two sides and 3-4 stations on each. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here, but tonight: salads, soups, chicken, meat, pork… anything you might want. We selected a nice tenderloin for our first dinner.

Time to relax, return to our room and continued reading one of the books we brought onboard. Quickly consumed, we were thankful they had a nice library onboard and with many of the authors we enjoyed. 

Monday, Oct 2, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (9am. 5pm)

We had lost an hour time yesterday and being in international waters internet was disrupted. The ship offered service but we declined to buy it. We could do without.

We continued up the St Lawrence and our first stop was docking at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables that was touted was actually a chocolate store. I selected 6 little pieces of dark chocolate. $16 dollars for those little pieces of silver… er chocolate, but that was Canadian. The gentleman behind the counter said he didn’t know how to convert Canadian to U.S. so dh (my dear husband) helped him, still a bit short changed us… so one might say disappointingly it was a bit of a scam for tourists. And Anne of Green Gables was 25 miles away from town.


We walked four miles around the little town and the best part was the amazing St Dunstan’s Cathedral Basilica, a stone French Gothic church built in 1913 from the remains of the cathedral that had been damaged by fire that year. St. Dunstan's is the fourth church on the site and one of the most visible landmarks in Charlottetown with its spires being some of the highest points on the City skyline. It is the only Roman Catholic cathedral and basilica in the province and one of the most elaborate churches in the Maritimes. https://www.gov.pe.ca/hpo/app.php?nav=details&p=5952 


Inside St Dunstan